Film Review: Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies 1

Bridge of Spies 2


Plot: In the midst of the Cold War, a Russian spy is caught in America. A lawyer must risk his career, his family and even his life just to do his job of defending him. But a friendship blooms and James Donovan genuinely wants what is best for his client.

When an American pilot is captured by the Russians, Donovan gets involved with an intense set of negotiations to see both men returned home safely before state secrets and public opinions are destroyed forever. Donovan must learn what he is prepared to gamble to get everyone back where they belong.


Quote: `We need to get off this merry-go-round, Sir. The next mistake our countries make could be the last one. We need to have the conversation our governments can’t.`


Opinion: I didn’t know what Bridge of Spies was about, but saw the adverts on the tube. They convinced me to watch it and I ended up having a film night with my parents indulging in some Steven Spielberg. This film is intense and not the highest on the entertainment scale, but extremely well executed and acted. This is not one to watch multiple times in a hurry, but is a very strong film.

The plot is based on true events that took place during the Cold War. I know very little of this era, so have no way of commenting whether it was accurate. What I can say is that Spielberg seemed to handle it with tact. There wasn’t any obvious (at least, not too me!) forced American ideals rammed into the audience, rather it was subtler than that which was a relief.

The acting was impressive. Tom Hanks delivered his usual superb performance as James Donovan, a man torn between his duty and his heart. Hanks has a way of bringing his characters to life in an understated way – it never seems like he has to try to bring such complex characters to the screen. Having seen the film, I can’t picture anyone else paying Donovan.

The lesser roles were also well done. For such a highly advertised film, there were very few faces I recognised (apart from Hanks). Mark Rylance delivers an entertaining performance as the Russian spy, Rudolf Abel, providing light-hearted moments that help break the intensity of the plot. Austin Stowell wasn’t given enough screen time for a proper judgement to be made on Gary Powers, but the focus of the film never truly landed on his character, despite him being the catalyst in events.

This film is not entertaining in the usual sense as it is based on fact in an age where chaos reigned. What it achieves, however, is a moving portrayal of one man who is determined to do what he believes to be right, regardless of the consequences. Hanks was a great choice as Donovan, but Spielberg was an even better one as a director given his history with these types of films.

Bridge of Spies is definitely a recommendation from here!

Amazon | HMV


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